Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Parker

Raise a glass or three today for Dorothy Parker, patron saint of this blog and indeed of cocktail-fond writer broads everywhere.

Parker wasn't all quips and martinis. She was also an activist, blacklisted by the HUAC, and a founder of the Screen Writers Guild which evolved into the WGA.

Oscar-nominated for 1937's A STAR IS BORN, Parker, like other luminaries such as Fitzgerald and Faulker who came West to write for the movies, found in Hollywood a lucrative but weird terra incognita:

When I dwelt in the East I had my opinion of writing for the screen. I regarded it with a sort of benevolent contempt, as one looks at the raggedy printing of a backward six-year-old. I thought it had just that much relationship to literature.

Well, I found out, and I found out hard, and found out forever. Through the sweat and the tears I shed over my first script, I saw a great truth - one of those eternal, universal truths that serve to make you feel much worse than you did when you started. And that is that no writer, whether he writes from love or from money, can condescend to what he writes. [italics mine] What makes it harder in screenwriting is the money he gets.

You see, it brings out the uncomfortable little thing called conscience. You aren't writing for the love of it or the art of it or whatever; you are doing a chore assigned to you by your employer and whether or not he might fire you if you did it slackly makes no matter. You've got yourself to face, and you have to live with yourself.
Pretty contemporary take, no?

Another quote (attributed), to see you off into your day:

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

Amen, sister.


Scribble94 said...

How about a recap of the WGA panel with Emmy nominees? Your recaps are the best.

Kira said...

Thanks, Scribble. :) Recap is coming, hopefully in the next couple of days.